Robert Wayne Harris, an ex-con who confessed to and was convicted of killing five people at a Dallas-area car wash, was executed on Thursday evening. Before he died, he reportedly asked for God’s blessing.
Harris confessed to killing five people at a car wash a week after he was terminated from his position there 12 years ago. He thanks his brother and three friends who watched him die through a window. “I’m going home. I’m going home,” Harris said. “Don’t worry about me. I’ll be alright. God bless, and the Texas Rangers, Texas Rangers.”
The 40-year-old was executed by lethal injection, making him the eighth Texas inmate executed in the nation’s most active capital punishment state, reports the International Business Times.
The case against Harris that led to his execution was controversial. Though he did confess, some have argued that he never should have been sentenced to death by lethal injection, according to the Christian Post. Harris was let go from his job at the Mi-T-Fine Car Wash in Irving, Texas in 2000 after exposing himself to a female customer. He returned with a gun, shooting five of his co-workers, killing two instantly. He was arrested the next day and was also charged with the abduction and killing of a woman months before the car wash attack. He led police to her remains.
His lawyer argued throughout the case that Harris was mentally impaired. While he confessed to the shootings, he also believed he should not be executed for his crimes.
“Our whole aim was to get him a life sentence. I keep hoping, I’m hoping something will come through for Robert,” his lawyer, Brad Lollar, told the press earlier this week.
Prosecutors painted Harris differently as a cruel and methodical killer who planned his attacks.
“I remember just the vicious nature of the offense and the fact that it was very well thought-out and conceived by Robert Harris. He knew from experience that they would not have deposited the weekend proceeds, and he was going to get the maximum amount of money that he possibly could obtain during this robbery,” Greg Davis, lead trial prosecutor, said in a statement.
Harris’s execution was carried out in front of some of the victims’ families, who reportedly hugged after he was officially pronounced dead.